The Department is the guiding professional body empowered on behalf of the Government with regard to the preparation of bills for enactment and initiatives concerning basic laws. The Department oversees the legislative processes of Government bills and of Knesset Private Members' bills and of Knesset Committees, guiding the Government Ministries with regard to the preparation of legislation on matters within the field of their responsibility. The Department initiates legislation on subjects coming within the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice as well as basic laws. The Department is also responsible for the text of the law and supervision of the enactment of subsidiary legislation of all the Government's ministries, as well as to publication in Reshumot [the Official Government Gazette].
In the sphere of legal counseling, the Department assists the Attorney General in providing professional expert opinions and issuing legal directives to the Government and all its branches, to Government Companies and Public Corporations. The Attorney General's professional opinion determines the binding interpretation of the law for the various Governmental bodies, and his directives on legal issues are binding on them in respect of their operations. The Department works continually in this context with the Legal Advisors of the Government ministries and other governmental authorities, in a legal-professional direction and in the determination of legal and constitutional policy where this is necessary.
The Counseling and Legislation Department is subordinate to the Attorney General and is managed by his Deputies. The Department's work is carried out in a framework of five subsidiary departments, headed in each case by one of the Attorney General's Deputies. The lawyers working in the Department, approximately 50 in number, represent the Attorney General vis-à-vis the Government and the Ministry of Justice before the various Ministerial Committees, and the Knesset Committees, also playing a role in Public Committees and inter-ministerial teams of the Government. The lawyers in all of the subsidiary departments are engaged in questions of counseling and legislation together with matters coming within their area of responsibility.
A Department of Jewish Law is also active within the framework of the Counseling and Legislation Department.
The Counseling Department
The Legislation Department
The Civil Law Department
The Economic/Fiscal Law Department
The Criminal Law Department
The Jewish Law Department
The Counseling Department
Ms. Dina Zilber, the Deputy Attorney General (Counseling) heads the Counseling Department.
The Department assists the Attorney General in his capacity as the duly authorized commentator in respect of the Government bodies. In this context, the Department is engaged in providing professional opinions and directives to the various Government Ministries and other public bodies. With this in view, the Department works continually with the legal advisors in the various Government Ministries, in relation to the direction and determination of policy. Additionally, the Department initiates approaches and instructions to the various Government bodies and to other public bodies with a view to safeguarding the law, and oversees legal proceedings involving questions of the formulation and determination of policy.
The Department is also responsible for initiating, processing and overseeing legislation on general topics of administrative law. The Department deals with subjects pertaining to the assurance of integrity in the public service, including setting up arrangements for the prevention of conflicts of interest in relation to State employees, restrictions following retirement, and laws relating to tenders. In addition, the Department is responsible for certain legislative topics including legislation in the field of judicial practice in administrative cases, on security-related subjects and those relating to security legislation in the territories, and in the field of genetics.
The Department's lawyers are also responsible for legal issues coming under the authority of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of the Interior (in the sphere of population administration, firearms, prevention of conflicts of interest of elected officials in the local authorities).
As part of the Department, a sub-unit operates: the support unit.
The State Support for Public Institutions Unit
The sub-unit for State support for public institutions is engaged in examining the constitutionality of criteria for State support for public institutions, being offered by the various Government Ministries, this being in accordance with the provisions of the Budget Principles Law, 5745-1985, which renders the application of criteria conditional on consultation taking place with the Attorney General as regards the degree of equality in their application. In addition, the Unit provides continuous legal counseling to the various Government ministries in the sphere of the application, in practical terms, of the prescribed criteria.
Correspondingly, the Unit assists the Government Ministries in the formulation of egalitarian criteria in other fields such as: criteria for the allocation of land on behalf of the Local Authority to public institutions, criteria for the budget of the Religious Councils in Israel and criteria for the integration of soldiers in regular service into non-governmental bodies.
The Legislation Department
The Legislation Department is headed by Ms. Orit Koren, the Deputy Attorney General (Legislation). The Department coordinates the activity relating to the legislative processes. The Head of the Department is the person who bears overall responsibility in matters of legislation in the Counseling and Legislation Department, and is responsible for the distribution of the legal memoranda of the Ministry of Justice. The Department is responsible for formulating the text of the law and assurance of a precise and uniform style for the Government's bills. The subsidiary Legislation Department examines the subsidiary legislation prior to its publication, and guides the Government Ministries on legal matters pertaining to such legislation. All these taken together - Knesset Laws, Bills, the Subsidiary Legislation and administrative directives - that require publication, are published in 'Reshumot', which is also the responsibility of the Legislation Department.
The Department handles matters of constitutional law in respect of issues pertaining to elections, political parties and states of emergency, and other issues coming under the authority of the Ministry of Justice, such as freedom of information, protection of privacy, courts, rules of procedure and family law.
The Department's lawyers also handle legal issues that come under the authority of State entities and other Government Departments, and as to the legislative notes relating to them - the President of the State, the Knesset, the State Comptroller, the Ministry of Quality of the Environment, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor and Welfare and the Prime Minister's office; and also legislation concerning planning and building.
The Subsidiary Legislation Unit
The Subsidiary Legislation Unit is engaged in legal examination of and the enactment for publication of Regulations and Administrative Directives in 'Reshumot' - in its Subsidiary Legislation Section and in the Section relating to TPC (Taxes, Purchases, Compulsory), in the local authority bye-laws section and in the Government Notices section. The material includes Regulations, Orders, Instructions, Rules, Notices and Appointments and Local Authority By-Laws. The examination is carried out in two stages. Firstly, an examination of the drafts and the furnishing of comments and amendments to the relevant body as regards constitutionality, the content and the drafting. At the second stage, the material is prepared for printing following its receipt in prepared form and signed by the duly authorized person in that particular field (Minister, Director General, Council Chairman, etc.). This stage includes a quick re-examination of constitutionality, the content and text and final editing with a view to publication.
Additionally, the Head of the Subsidiary Legislation Unit deals with the provision of a professional opinion, advice and guidance to the Government ministries, committees and other bodies as regards the material that it is proposed to publish - the way in which it has been arranged, the appropriate arena for its publication and its compatibility with any law, including the effect on it of legislative innovations.
The Statutory Drafting and Official Publication Unit
The Statutory Drafting Unit deals with the preparation of the draft text of Government Bills prior to their publication. The Department's work is designed to ensure uniform and clear formats of legislation, compatibility of the bills with existing legislation, a clear and precise style, etc.
The Head of the Unit deals with the provision of advice and guidance to the Government ministries, and works in coordination with lawyers of the Counseling and Legislation Department and with the Knesset Legal Advisors as regards the proposed laws, the appropriate texts thereof and their placement.
The Civil Law Department
Mr. Erez Kaminitz heads the Civil Law Department, he being a Deputy Attorney General (Civil).
The Civil Law Department is engaged in a wide range of areas of civil law. such as property law, torts, contracts, inheritance and prescription. It also handles matters relating to banking and insurance, consumer protection, electronic commerce, credit service data and other commercial matters. The Department also deals with the Local Authority sphere, laws relating to planning and building, and religions.
The spheres of intellectual property and information technology which are in the throes of constant development, both in the international and local arenas, are dealt with from the legal aspect from various standpoints. The Department is promoting new legislation on matters relating to copyright and inventions, trademarks, designs and patents and is examining solutions for legal problems pertaining to electronic signature, uses of the internet and so forth. It is also playing a role in a combined team of enforcement authorities on the subject of enforcement of the intellectual property laws.
The main project on the Department's agenda is the codification of Civil Law. In this context, a new Civil Law has been formulated which combines most of the areas of Israeli Law and in the framework of which a number of new arrangements and amendments are being made to existing arrangements. Other subjects within the area of the authority of the Department are Public Corporations (in conjunction with the Department of Economic-Fiscal Law).
Matters coming under the authority of the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the Ministry of Finance, Culture and Sport, and the Ministries of Tourism and of Industry and Trade.
Along with the Counseling and Legislation functions, the Department presents the position of the Attorney General to the Government in relation to the existence of oppressive conditions in standard contracts under the Standard Contracts Law, 5743-1982. In this context, the Department's lawyers appear before the Standard Contracts Tribunal and prepare the Attorney General's written pleadings in this field, in Court.
The Economic-Fiscal Law Department
This Department is headed by Mr. Avi Licht, the Deputy Attorney General (Economic-Fiscal).
The Department specializes in topics relating to commercial law, regulatory laws as well as the economic aspects of administrative law and of constitutional law.
The Department's Attorneys oversee, from a legal standpoint, the formulation of Government policy pertaining to the principal economic processes in the national economy, including the Budget Law and the Arrangements Law, structural reforms and privatization processes, the opening up of markets to competition, regulation of the activity of economic entities and their supervision.
In addition, the Department provides continuous legal supervision. It assists the Attorney General in his capacity as the duly authorized commentator on the law for the Government bodies, including providing a professional opinion and directives to the Government's economic ministries and advising them, particularly in the course of the legislative work.
The work of the Department includes attending Government Cabinet Meetings, of Committees of Ministers and Knesset Committees.
The Department works with the Ministry of Finance (inter alia: the Capital Market Department, the Taxes Authority, the Government Companies Authority and the Securities Authority), the Ministry of National Infrastructures (inter alia: the Electricity Public Services Authority and the Water Authority), the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety (including the Civil Aviation Authority and the Ports and Shipping Authority), the Ministry of Communications (including the Second Television and Radio Authority, and the Cable Broadcasting and Satellite Broadcasting Council), the Broadcasting Authority, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor (the Restrictive Business Practices Authority, the Standards Institute), the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Culture. The Department is also responsible for the initiation, handling and overseeing of legislation on economic and fiscal matters coming within the area of expertise and responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, such as laws concerning corporations - companies, partnerships, non-profit societies, cooperative societies, and insolvency laws - bankruptcy, winding-up of companies, reconstruction of companies, and also execution of judgments and accountancy.
The Criminal Law Department
Mr. Raz Nazeri, a Deputy Attorney General (Criminal), is the Head of this Department.
The Department is responsible for formulating the policy of legislation and providing professional opinions in the wide field of criminal law. The Department examines proposed legislation in the form of Government sponsored bills and those of the Knesset which contain a criminal component - in terms of the offence, penalty, powers of investigation and search, and so forth - in order to check their compatibility with the general principles of the criminal law, and constitutional principles, including the right to dignity, freedom and equality.
In the context of the wide field of criminal law in which the Department is engaged, it is responsible inter alia for the following prominent issues: substantive penal laws - the rules relating to criminal responsibility, methods of punishment and release from imprisonment; criminal law procedure rules and the laws of evidence, including the rights of victims of an offence, and adaptation of investigation methods for persons with disabilities, and children; powers of search, criminal records.
The Department is also responsible for criminal law issues with an international aspect, such as extradition, legal assistance between states, adaptation of Israeli legislation to the requirements of international conventions that have criminal ramifications, as well as an examination of the need for amendments to legislation in light of the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. In relation to these matters, the Departments works closely with the International Department of the State Attorney's Office and with the International Agreements Unit in the Counseling and Legislation Department.
Also among the functions of the Department are special issues such as, human trafficking, sexual offences, dangerous drugs, prohibition of money laundering, organized crime, terrorist offences and violence within the family.
Additionally, matters coming under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security are handled in the Special Functions Department.
The Jewish Law Department
The Jewish Law Department acts in implementing the Legal Principles Law, 5740-1980, which provides a link to "the principles of freedom, justice, honesty and peace, of Jewish heritage". This activity includes writing professional opinions for the purpose of legislative processes, and preparation of arguments before the courts, as well as in the context of counseling on legal issues for the Governmental Authorities. The Head of the Jewish Law Unit appears before Ministerial Committees and Knesset Committees and plays a role in the deliberations in the Ministry of Justice and inter-ministerial teams in order to express a position in terms of Jewish law on the issues up for discussion.
In addition to this, the Department is persevering with the systematic arrangement and updating of Jewish Law as a fundamental principle for legislation and case-law in accordance with statutory enactments in the State of Israel. With this in view, the Department is engaged in the arrangement of legal research and in the preparation of handbooks and interpretations of the Laws of the State of Israel in accordance with the sources of Jewish law. Thus, for example, in the "Law for Israel" series, published in conjunction with "The Legal Heritage in Israel", interpretations have so far been published on the following subjects: guarantee, torts, unjust enrichment, reinstatement of loss, guards and leasing and hiring. Interpretations are in preparation on the following subjects: Agency, Gifts, Principles of Criminal Responsibility, the form of contract and its content and flaws in the conclusion of a contract.
The Department also arranges study courses, tutorials, seminars and day courses for Judges and Attorneys.
The Department distributes a Legal Newsletter to Israel's Judges and employees in the legal service, which combines Jewish and Israeli law in the form of a link to the weekly Torah Portion. The newsletter is called: "Parashat HaShavua" and is published in conjunction with the Jewish Law Teaching and Study Center of the "Shaarei Mishpat" College.